A very human exploration, from heart-searching to heart-gladdening.



Food blogger Weaver charts her progress as a reluctant meat eater.

“How does a vegetarian find herself in a butcher shop in the first place?” the author asks at the beginning of her memoir. She had been meat free since birth; at the age of ten she could distinguish millet from barley from buckwheat. But she was feeling fatigued, and her doctors suggested some meat in her diet. So for health reasons, she was game for a little carnivorous adventure, even with all the baggage: personal values, planetary concerns, family expectations. In 1970s Northern California, the vibe was cool, but Weaver had to admit that “[t]here was also a lot of bad food…My family did our grocery shopping in funky little health food stores that smelled like vitamins, musty and virtuous.” On the author’s meat-eating quest, she revels in flank steak with chimichurri rub and the perfect BBQ, and she queasily considers the bloody veins in beef stock bones: “That’s when it dawns on me: shank means leg. This was someone’s leg. I suddenly feel more vegetarian than ever before.” Black pudding and crown roast defeat her, but she has the fortitude to stand on the slaughterhouse floor during kill time, and insight enough to appreciate that this is a personal quest—tied to matters of health and perception, but not a global answer to the meat-eating debate. After a particularly delicious meal, she writes, “It is all delicious; I eat it all and enjoy it. But the thing is, I don’t need it…“Are the hippies right? Are we really supposed to be eating raw, enzyme-rich plant food? I’m going to be really pissed if that’s true.” All things considered, she’s learned to love a bit of meat.

A very human exploration, from heart-searching to heart-gladdening.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-60529-996-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Rodale

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2009

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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